Sunday, March 23, 2014

Highs, Lows, and Plateaus: Newport Training, Week 2

I recently read a blog post with a weekend recap in "High-Low-High" format, and think it pretty accurately describes my week. So here goes:

High - Finally trying the Vans gluten-free waffles. These had been recommended last week, and I happened to find them on sale, but I didn't open the box until earlier this week. And they're pretty awesome. They're light and fluffy, but have just the right amount of crunch when toasted. They reminded me of the Eggo waffles I haven't had in years. So far, I've tried them with peanut butter, as well as with peanut butter and honey, and both combinations are delicious (though in my mind, you can't go wrong with peanut butter on most things).

Low - Learning that not all vodka is derived from potatoes, and some is derived from wheat. (Article)

Seriously, Grey Goose? You cost enough. The least you can do is not rely on the distilling process to remove the gluten. But I did get a couple good recommendations - Monopolowa and Tito's.

High - Receiving my birthday present from my mom...five weeks in advance.

Yes, I'm aware that she's type A. But I won't complain, because all I wanted was to be surprised by my gift (I was), and the Nutribullet's pretty awesome. No joke, I've probably used it about five times in as many days. (Mainly for smoothie/green juice concoctions, but I did use it to make a peanut satay earlier today.)

Low - After feeling so energetic last week, I just felt rather blah this week. I avoided gluten altogether, and only ate dairy once. Maybe it's because I ate less meat and more lentils and beans?

High - Finding GF frozen breakfast burritos at Whole Foods! No, I have not tried them yet, but I was simply stoked to find them.

Low - Getting my lab results back from my doctor, and finding out that I'm borderline anemic, and that he wants to do further testing. Yup, that'd explain why I was feeling so tired. (I finally ordered my iron supplements, but they won't arrive until Wed. Until then, time to ramp up my meat intake.)

High - My upcoming vacation! I'm heading to San Juan on Wednesday for a friend's wedding, and since I've never been, I'm making an extended vacation out of it. Also, it takes a hella long time to fly there from Oregon, so I'd rather go for more than 2-3 days. Either way, so excited! The forecasted highs are in the 80s and the forecasted lows are in the 70s, which makes this Raynaud's sufferer happy. We'll see how the heat forces me to adjust my training plan for the week.

And with that, I lead into my training recap:

Planned - rest or xt
Actual - Work Challenge

Nothing particularly noteworthy, aside from that it felt good.

Planned - LT 8 mi with 4 mi at 15K-HMRP (6:45-6:48/mi)
Actual - LT 8.01 with 4 mi at 15K pace

My legs definitely were not feeling 100% at the start of this workout, but I forced myself to do this workout as prescribed. (Because while I *could* do this run at a GA pace, how am I supposed to grow as a runner if most of my workouts are at that pace?)
I used the first two miles as my warm-up, so it worked out (nearly) perfectly that from my place over the Broadway Bridge and around to the Greenway is about 1.9 miles (in that I only had to deal with street traffic on the warm-up and cooldown, and I could do the LT portion of this workout relatively uninterrupted).
During the first mile of the LT portion, I had one side of my brain saying, "Just do what you can", and the other side saying, "That's not the point of this workout." I don't really recall my thoughts during mile 2 of the LT interval, aside from being focused on hearing my Garmin beep so that I could turn around. Miles 3 and 4 were a blur of, "Push yourself! You're supposed to push yourself to exhaustion. That's the point." And once my Garmin beeped to signify the end of the LT interval, I was so relieved. I felt like I gave it my all, and somehow, I managed to run each mile a bit faster than the one before it. (Though mile 2 of my cooldown led me to wonder a bit about that one.)
Warm-up: 7:54, 7:41
LT: 6:57, 6:49, 6:44, 6:43 (avg = 6:48; within the target range)
Cooldown: 8:11, 7:08
After doing a few of these lactate threshold workouts now, I'm finally seeing the point of them: to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Also, I read my training schedule this morning, and realized that my birthday is during the peak week of this cycle (i.e., the 55 mile week), and that I have one of the hardest workouts of the plan scheduled for that day (LT 12 mi with 7 mi @ 15K to HMRP). Fun stuff.

Planned - rest or xt
Actual - rest

My piriformis was feeling a bit tight throughout the day (I think as a result of Tuesday's speed work), and though I had every intention of going to the Work Challenge, I decided to go home and do some pigeon poses instead.

Planned - GA 11 mi
Actual - GA 4.38 mi, Work Challenge, GA 7.12 mi

Part 1:
I had a morning doctor's appt., and meetings scattered throughout the afternoon, so the only way to squeeze in these miles was to split them up. This was around 3:30 or so. Got to run by the cherry blossoms in bloom. (Actually, they've been in bloom the last few times I've run down there, but this is the first time I'm remembering to mention it in my recap).

Splits: 7:20, 7:51, 7:52, 7:11, 7:10 (for 0.38)

Work Challenge:
Last one! So stoked that it's done, so that I can focus more on running now, but I'll have to carve out more time for core and strength work now.

Part 2:
I decided to head home and do part 2 of the MLR in my neighborhood (mainly so I could run, and not have to deal with waiting for the bus to get home and eat). I was tired, and certainly didn't feel like getting out there, but I was already dressed, so I just sucked it up. I definitely did not feel springy (though neither did the weather, despite it being the first day of spring), and I was just annoyed with everyone. Around mile 2, I got a random side-5 from some guy drinking outside at one of the restaurants on Alberta. First time ever!

By about mile 4 or 5, I started to get my second wind, and just let that push me through to the end. It was also around mile 5 that I stopped being annoyed with everyone. Funny enough, this run was the same pace as part 1. That was not planned.

Splits: 7:53, 8:08, 7:42, 7:17, 7:20, 7:29, 7:09, 6:35 (for 0.12)

Foam rolled later, and also massaged my plantar fascia (both feet). 

After I finished this run, my doctor called to tell me about the borderline anemia. If anything would explain my general lethargy, this would be fit.

Planned - rest or xt
Actual - rest

There was also happy hour, shrimp fajitas from a food cart, and game night with friends. Great rest day.

Planned - Recovery 5
Actual - Recovery 5.28

My day got consumed by a haircut, PSU Farmers Market outing, and an impromptu coffee/tea outing with another friend. But I was able to squeeze this in between the Farmers Market and coffee by locking my stuff at 24 in the Pearl and starting/ending there. Compared to Thursday, this felt MUCH better. Plus, the benefit to starting/ending at 24 is that the extra floor space motivated me to do some dynamic stretching, IT band rehab work, and foam rolling after my run.

Splits: 7:15, 7:43, 7:28, 7:32, 6:59, 7:16 (for 0.28)

Planned - LR 15 mi
Actual - LR 15.3 mi

I ventured down the Springwater Corridor for this run, which was a nice change of scenery (I hadn't been down that path in about 6 months). The weather was beautiful, and everyone and their mother seemed to be out (whether on bike, foot, or in the case of one guy, roller skates). By mile 4 (soon after I got on the Springwater), I felt like I was in a good groove. I just ended up losing myself in the run. During mile 7, some random woman passed me on her bike and said "Nice pace." I hit the Sellwood Bridge just before my watch beeped for mile 7, so I just ran an extra 0.5 miles along the railroad tracks, and then turned around. That portion of the path was unpaved and rocky, but it was still fun to explore!

The back half was fairly uneventful. Was still in the zone. I love running back up the Springwater because it just feels good to head back toward civilization. I added a little extra on so that I could crack 40 miles for the week.

Thought of Erin and Lynton on this one, after their amazing races today. (Erin got 3rd overall female in the Oakland full, and Lynton PRed in the Oakland half.)

Splits: 7:51, 7:43, 7:45, 7:35, 7:28, 7:30, 7:30, 7:41 (the rocky path), 7:16, 7:26, 7:21, 7:16, 7:39, 7:48, 7:14, 6:53 (for 0.3)

I had this issue on Thursday, and I had it again today. If I finish exercising, get home, and then opt to eat before changing and showering, I get chills, which are immediately followed up by a Raynaud's attack. After 15 miles, food sounds much better. But if it means having to deal with white fingers, I may have to switch up my routine.

Planned total: 39 mi
Actual total: 40.09 mi

First 40+ mile week in nearly 6 months!

Any tips for running in the heat? Or for training while on vacation? And do you suffer from the post-workout chill?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Don't Expect to Get it Right on the First Try

Over dinner tonight with a couple friends, we were discussing how we can't believe it's already March. Where has this month gone? More importantly, how is it that I've already started training for marathon #1 of 2014? Rather than wonder where the time has gone, I'd rather share with you some things that I've learned this week about gluten- and dairy-free living, as well as my training updates. 

Diet Tidbits

-Jesus is made of gluten. No really, the Eucharist at mass contains wheat. ( I first realized this three days after Ash Wednesday, during which I went up and received communion. (The last time I had been to mass was Christmas, which was way before I did the gluten-free thing.) If you happen to be Catholic and GF, you have two options. One, walk up and cross your hands over your chest. This tells the priest/Eucharistic Minister that you won't be receiving communion, and that they should give you a simple blessing instead. Or two, save yourself the trip and not go up there. Aren't you already getting blessed if you're at mass.


-Take an iron supplement. I'd like to credit the lovely Annabelle for this tip. This is important for endurance athletes anyway, as the constant pounding on the pavement breaks down the hemoglobin in your blood, thereby breaking down your iron stores. This is a much bigger concern for female endurance athletes, because of the blood lost during menstruation. (

-Eat lots of rice. Again, another Annabelle tip. I recently discovered black rice at Trader Joe’s. It contains as much protein per serving as quinoa, but takes about 3x as long to make. If you decide to buy it, get it simmering, and then go clean your house. Or foam roll. Or both, depending on the size of your house. And since you'll want to make multiple servings at one time, here's an idea for what to do with your leftover rice (and leftover peanut butter jar too, for that matter). Take your nearly empty PB jar, and add 3/4 cup cooked rice, 1/2 cup milk of your choice, and whatever else your heart desires. Seal it up, and let it sit in your fridge overnight.

-Do your due diligence whenever you go out to eat. Otherwise, you'll end up with an oyster hash that's made with fried oysters. (FWIW, the hash was good, but I'm not sure if it was worth the stomach cramps that ensued. Now the shrimp and grits that my companion ordered would be worth it. I need to try making a dairy-free version of those.) I'm just telling myself that it was accidental, and trying to use it as a learning tool in this journey toward GF living.

-If you want a good excuse to deviate from your diet plan, use alcohol. It's how I ended up with a $6 block of cheese in my fridge. And when said $6 block is only 1/4 lb., you kind of want to ration and enjoy it. So I spread it out over four days/sittings. And an ounce a day sounds reasonable, right? (So yes, I ended up eating dairy most days this week.)

-Unless you're looking for an oversized cracker, don't buy Trader Joe's Brown Rice Bread. Yes, it's gluten-, dairy-, and egg-free, but it is not soft and pillowy like normal bread should be.

Anyway, week 1 of training is done. And now, the workout recaps!

Planned: rest or xt
Actual: Work Challenge

Good excuse to do core and strength conditioning.

Planned: 8 mi with 10x100m strides
Actual: 8.40 mi with 8x100m strides, plus Work Challenge

I'd call this a runch (because I left work, ran, and then came back to work), except it was at 3pm, so it's a little late for runching hours. Either way, great weather! Spotted my favorite coffee guy (i.e., my friend's uncle, who happens to own the coffee shop in the lobby of my office building) twice. Got hungry by about mile 4 (I hadn't been particularly hungry all day -- I guess my appetite caught up with me), but otherwise, this was good. Worked in 8x100m(ish) strides. And in a moment of "I'm going to try to be hard core", I used the challenge as a cooldown.

For some reason, I thought there were only 8 strides. Bad recall on my part.

Planned: rest or xt
Actual: Work Challenge

Nothing too exciting to report. Or really, different from Monday.

Planned: General Aerobic (GA) 9 mi
Actual: GA 10.07 mi
This was supposed to be a 9 mile run. But in the midst of checking out a slightly new route, I underestimated so much that I figured I'd just round it out to an even 10. Unfortunately, I only felt springy for the first half of this run. The second half, all I could think about was, "Ooo, this neighborhood's rundown", "Ooo, this is NICE!", and "FOOD!" I think I smoked myself by doing the work challenge three days in a row (one of which was right after my 8 miler on Tuesday).
Oh, and since told me it was 59ยบ, I left my gloves at home. And by mile 1, my pinkie and ring finger on my left hand were white. And after the other 9 miles, they were red/purple. Poor life choices?
Also, I saw three people I knew while running. Fortunately, I saw all of them while I was still feeling good (one between miles 1 and 2, and the other two between miles 3 and 4).

Planned: rest or xt
Actual: rest

Planned: Recovery 5
Actual: Recovery 5.01 mi

It's so nice here today, and there's a chance that it's going to rain tomorrow, so I thought about switching my recovery and long runs around so I could do the long run today. Except my legs weren't having any of that. And by mile 4, my plantar fascia wasn't having it either. Around mile 4.3 or so, I remembered that the Downtown 24 was about 0.6-0.7 miles away, so it just seemed like a wise idea to run there and foam roll. And was it ever! Oh, and then I rolled out my plantar fascia when I got home. And also ate, because I got hangry on my way home.

Planned: 13 mi
Actual: 13.15 mi

After yesterday's run, I really wasn't sure what to expect out of this. I was just hoping that the foam rolling and plantar massaging I did yesterday would help. The couple hills I encountered were tough, but overall, things felt good. During the last mile, I had this weird pain in my left adductor (and by weird, I mean I've never felt it before). But it didn't hurt enough to abort the run.

Post-run was the brunch with the oyster hash that I would've been fine not ordering. 

Planned total: 35 mi
Actual total: 36.63 

This was my first week over 35 miles, so I'm quite pleased about that. Maybe not the injuries, but the 35+ mile week seems like something to smile about. Now let's bring on week 2!

How do you react when you fall off of the wagon?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Beating the Wheat (and the Cow that Grazes It)

I know I've taken a hiatus from this blogging thing. But life took over, and I haven't been training for anything. And I'm sure you don't come here to read solely about my non-running life. (If you do, let me know and I'll just send you an email with the happenings of the last few months.) But after months off from a set training regimen, I'm about to jump into a 5.5-month long, double-marathon training season (Newport on 5/31, followed by Santa Rosa on 8/24). And so I return to the blog.



As I even think about blogging, I can't help but think about the focus of my blog. When I first created it in 2012, it was to chronicle how I'd be celebrating my 26th birthday by running 26.2 miles. But 26 is long gone, and 27 is nearly gone, so that focus makes no sense. 

I then think to the challenges I have ahead of me. Nearly six months of back-to-back marathon training just seems hellacious to me. (Don't ask me why I thought that was a brilliant idea. Or if I were even thinking at all.) What also seems hellacious is having to own up to the fact that I should cut gluten and dairy from my diet.

Let me back this up for a hot second. I first remember going to a dermatologist for eczema about 14 years ago, and since then, seeing multiple doctors and trying multiple creams (prescription and OTC) to help alleviate the problem. But like a bad significant other, it just keeps coming back. Red, dry, cracking skin, and the symptoms are sometimes so bad that my hands will bleed. I recently switched PCPs, and mentioned this issue to him during my physical. Based on recent research, he suggested eliminating gluten from my diet for a few weeks. I figured, "I've had it for over half my life. What do I have to lose?" In the last few weeks, my skin has improved (though considering my moderate lactose intolerance, it’s possible that my issues are due to a combination of gluten and dairy -, but I’ve also noticed that I have more energy, and my mood has improved. I also noticed that I felt my best when I didn’t have either gluten or dairy. (I had a moment of weakness last week where I allowed Ben & Jerry’s to enter my house. Damn you, Ben & Jerry's! Why must you be so delicious?)

If cutting both of those out will improve my overall health, and a healthier runner makes for a faster runner (or so I hope), then maybe I should try eliminating both for this training cycle. And then share how it’s affected my training, because from what Google has told me, there are very few gluten-free running blogs out there.

This (Newport) will be the first one I’ll have trained for sans gluten. And subsequently, sans post-long run breakfast burrito. Those I will miss dearly. (No joke, I've ended two of my long runs at taquerias so I could refuel with one of those glorious egg-and-cheese footballs.) 

Not ordering cheese and sour cream in the burrito is one thing. But you can’t have a burrito without a tortilla. If anyone can tell me where in Portland I can find a GF breakfast burrito, I will gladly treat you to one. Carb loading could also get interesting, but I know there are so many non-wheat options. I just need to get creative.

Do you have any dietary restrictions (either self-imposed or medically-imposed)? How do you cope?